Shortened my stock '78 F-150 draglink - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


Suspension Tech General discussion of suspension for the Ford Ranger.

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Old 01-01-2008
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Shortened my stock '78 F-150 draglink

Well, I shortened the track bar a while back, but that was fairly easy since I just cut it off and had it drilled and tapped for a heim. I needed to shorten my draglink about an inch also.

I decided to cut the stock F-150 draglink -- which is a solid rod 1" diameter -- back and reweld and sleeve it. Got some good weather this New Year's Day so I did it. Took a couple of hours altogether including mount/dismount of the link.

Pic 1: The pieces. I'm just using Schedule 40 steel pipe to sleeve it. I know DOM is preferable but it's just a reinforcement and I believe this is strong enough. It fits snugly around the drag link rod.

Pic 2: Ends of the drag link prepped for welding.

Pic 3: Pieces are clamped in a piece of angle iron to hold them in alignment. Don't forget to put your sleeve on before you weld, need I tell you. I cut the sleeve pipe down to about 6.5 ".
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Old 01-01-2008
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Here's some views of the process.

Pic 1: Overall the clamping to the angle.

Pic 2: Bit more of a closeup. You need to mark your bar before you cut it to make sure you can put it back together in the proper alignment. Also note there is a small gap between the pieces to allow easier penetration when welding.

Pic 3: Welding in-progress picture.

Pic 4: Welding completed and ground down so the sleeve can slide over it.
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Old 01-01-2008
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And finishing up.

Pic 1: The sleeve tacked in place ready to be burned in.

Pic 2: Finished drag link back on the truck.

That's it. Do this yourself at your own risk. I know some folks aren't comfortable with this but I am. It's up to you what you choose to do -- I'm not advocating this over taking the time and money to fab a whole new drag link.

I'll eventually be doing that anyway, but this is cheap and easy for now to get by.
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Old 01-01-2008
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nice fab skills man..looks flawless..shouldnt have a problem there (:
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Old 01-01-2008
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I guess it works for now... But I wouldnt trust it. Save some money on the side and fix that up with a nice new drag link :)
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Old 01-01-2008
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weldin solid can be a tricky game, and i wouldnt recommend runnin that setup for any longer than necessary. sch40 isnt strong enough for steering/suspension loads, IMO.

a couple ideas that would make your splice stronger would be better materials(already mentioned), and plug welds thru the sleeve into the draglink. i have also seen people drill and press fit a dowel in the center, then weld and sleeve them.

IMO its easier, faster, and safer to jus fab up a new one if the truck is gonna see ANY street time at all. i have spliced them for mock-ups though.
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Old 01-01-2008
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Schedule 40 by itself of course not. As a reinforcement, it's fine.

And Zach I knew you'd say that.

It's not cheaper, Gumby -- the one thing missing from your prescription. I don't have the parts to make a new one right now and I wanted the steering to be more of less right when I take it in for inspection.

Having my steering wheel inverted -- where it ended up when I shortened the track bar -- might have made them look closer at other things, lol. Also, this got me back my turning radius on one side which was constrained by the steering box maxxing out in one direction.

This has been done by lots of folks lots of times and it works. Furthermore this type of splicing has been use on both street and trail. There's a good possibility that it's stronger now than it was previously with the sleeve and whatnot.

The plug welds are a good idea, particularly if your sleeve doesn't fit tightly. Mine is pretty tight though.

It seems like both of you failed to read the part where I'll be fabbing custom eventually anyway. This is not the preferred way -- but's it's useable, and most likely as strong as it will ever need to be.

Time will tell.
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Old 01-01-2008
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LOL I read what you wrote, I just had to say it. haha
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Old 01-01-2008
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looks good, I can not wait to see it on the trail.
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Old 01-01-2008
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Thanks, Doc -- but you'll have to, lol -- it's not ready yet.
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